By Laman Ismayilova
August 26 is celebrated worldwide as the International Day of Azerbaijani Mugham and Silk Road countries’ Music.
For ten years, the day is bringing together all mugham lovers, especially those who devoted their live to this wonderful art.
The decision to proclaim the day has been made by the administration of the Canadian city of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the leadership of the traditional annual Niagara International Chamber Music Festival 2010.
First Vice-President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva has played an exceptional role in promoting mugham art.
Thanks to the efforts of First Vice-President , UNESCO proclaimed Azerbaijani Mugham a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" (2008). The mugham art entered UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists in 2008.
Furthermore, International Mugham Center was built in Azerbaijan. Over the past years, the Center has implemented multiple cultural projects aimed at promotion of national music: "Evenings of ashug music", "Treasury of Secrets", "Unforgettable", "Pearls of ethnic music", etc.
At the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the International World of Mugham Festival was held in country for the first time in 2009.
Music experts from the USA, France, Hungary, Italy, Turkey, Germany and other countries took part took part in symposium held as part of the festival.
Today Azerbaijani mugham art enjoys global success. The national mugham singers known as khanende fascinate audiences at prestigious music events across the world.
Azerbaijan's living vocal treasure Alim Gasimov has greatly contributed to Azerbaijani culture, especially mugham.
The khanende was awarded the International Music Council-UNESCO Music Prize, one of the highest international accolades for music in 1999.
For his achievement, he was quoted by the New York Times as simply one of the greatest singers alive, with a searing spontaneity that conjures passion and devotion, contemplation and incantation.
The daughter of the mugham master Alim Gasimov, followed in her father's footsteps.
Her amazing talent was discovered in 1995, when at the age of sixteen, she joined father in a concert tour in Germany.
Over the years, Farghana Gasimova, along with her father and teacher Alim Gasimov, has successfully represented Azerbaijan in the international arena, making a significant contribution to the development and promotion of mugham.
Azerbaijani mugham, one of the most valuable treasures of the spiritual culture of the nation, contains seven main modes - Rast, Shur, Segah (especially common), Shushtar, Bayaty-Shiraz, Chahargah, Humayun and three collateral kinds - shahnaz, sarendj, chargah in some other form.
Three major schools of mugham performance existed from the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Karabakh, Shirvan, and Baku.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, a completely new mugham style emerged in the country.
Vagif Mustafazade is considered the founder of Azerbaijani jazz-mugham , who blended the two music styles.
A short selection of Azerbaijani mugham, played on the Azerbaijani wind instrument balaban, was included among many cultural achievements of humanity on the Voyager Golden Record, which was attached to the Voyager spacecraft to represent world music.
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